'Killing Eve' season 2 episode 5 brings out the darkness in Eve and her psychopathic relationship with Villanelle
This article contains spoilers for season 2 episode 5 'Smell Ya Later'.
Considering the last couple of episodes of 'Killing Eve's season 2, the show has been following a pattern of one elaborate murder by the main serial killer, Villanelle (Jodie Comer), as the character still tries to make her way back to the titular detective Eve Polastri's (Sandra Oh) concerns, in an attempt to still remain significant to her.
But somehow or the other, even as Eve keeps finding her way back to her former target Villanelle, there's no denying that other significant developments in her plot arc are trying to pull her away from the target she is still so heavily invested in. Which is exactly what makes us so concerned about Eve's budding workplace flame with her coworker Hugo, and any other new murderer whose case she gets assigned to. The reason? Villanelle's newly realized feelings of jealousy — as is clear from this week's episode 5 'Smell Ya Later'.
Yet, all of that aside, the highlight of this week's episode continues to be Eve's quest for Villanelle. In almost every new murder case she takes up — all of them committed by 'The Ghost' aka the new serial killer in town — Eve tries to find similarities and draw a parallel between the murders and her obsession, Villanelle. Even though the MI6 has a woman in custody whom they believe to be the new killer, during her shot at interrogating the suspect, Eve ends up asking the woman — an Asian mother of two — if she has heard of Villanelle. The suspect calls Villanelle a "demon with no face", and claims that's what she is known as in the game, and Eve automatically insists to her coworkers that if there's one person who can get this suspect or the prospective Ghost to crack, it will be Villanelle.
It's interesting how much Eve vouches for Villanelle's murder techniques and scenes, which become clear when an expert psychologist arrives at their office to train them on psychopaths. The expert, who we later find out was hired secretly by Eve's boss Carolyn Martens (Fiona Shaw) to examine her undercover, explains how psychopaths like Villanelle aren't capable of inter-personal human relationships, and as he notes later to Carolyn, Eve didn't look ready to accept that during their session. This only further establishes Eve's hesitation in believing that Villanelle isn't still as interested in her, as she was previously.
The fact only gets confirmed later when an anonymous gift arrives at Eve's doorstep and inside she finds roses spelling her name — something that makes her crack a subtle smirk in probable relief, as she believes the gifter is definitely Villanelle trying to still remain significant in her narrative. In a classic scenario of tables turning, after four long episodes, Eve now finds herself in the teasing predicament of still trying her best to be relevant to Villanelle; the latter's cryptic gifts only urging her further to resume the cat-and-mouse chase that we have seen in the debut season of the show.
But the twist in the tale is far more dangerous, as Villanelle's handler Konstantin (Kim Bodnia) tasks her with the new assignment of killing Eve. Literally! Armed with his paternal instincts, Konstantin tells Villanelle that she has to take the MI6 agent out because "You (Villanelle) are a mess, she (Eve) is making you weak." Konstantin also remarks that Villanelle "used to be smarter than this" before her encounter with Eve, so in her latest spiral, we find the serial assassin trying to get over her obsession, momentarily, by finding comfort in the lap of a certain Tony from room service.
So even as Eve gears up with a bulletproof vest for a reunion with the woman she hasn't been able to take her mind off of for the last couple of months, what she doesn't know is that Villanelle isn't the one going to be vulnerable and exposed during their meeting. Unlike the last time (season 1 finale) where Villanelle was the unsuspecting party during their tete-a-tete with each other, Eve is now in her place, completely unaware that she is being targeted. It's almost poetic how the entire plot pans out because it turns out, it was Eve all along who had hired Villanelle under the ruse to kill her so the assassin would agree to see her.
In what is easily the most highly anticipated moment of the show, Eve and Villanelle come face to face once again, but their interaction is quite predictable. Both admit they think about their previous encounter all the time (where Eve stabbed Villanelle in the guts with a knife) and Eve's confidence in Villanelle not being readily into killing her is not only remarkable, but also quite shocking. It becomes clear that Eve treats Villanelle from a lover's perspective, where she has enough faith in the serial killer's instincts to know that she wouldn't just murder Eve and be done with it. There's no denying that dealing with the psychopath for this long has turned Eve into one in her own way.
In that, even though Villanelle is able to trick Eve into believing that she has poisoned her, later — once she is finally able to crack open The Ghost to spill the beans — Eve becomes so consumed with the discovery of the new killer's motives that she refuses to acknowledge Villanelle's contribution with even the slightest gratitude. This after Villanelle pointed a knife at Eve's heart and only let go of her after getting her to promise whatever she wants, is a big example of how Eve is slowly turning into the same dauntless psychopath that she has been chasing all this while. As the episode culminates, the focus shift's from Villanelle's villainous self to Eve's newly acquired psychopathic tendencies, and once again, the show comes a full circle beautifully.
The only thing that could steal the spotlight from all of this in the fifth episode is Villanelle sneaking up on Eve's husband Niko Polastri (Owen McDonnell) and divulging every juicy bit about her previous encounter with Eve. And even though she assures him that she has forgiven Eve, she says just enough to sabotage whatever ounce of trust the man had left in his wife after doubting her for her growing obsession with the assassin. In her own subtle way, Villanelle succeeds once again in killing something close to Eve.
'Killing Eve' airs on Sundays at 9 pm, only on BBC America.
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